Special Report

The Least Healthy County In Every State

Source: Courtesy of Omnedon via Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma: Adair
> Adults in fair or poor health: 28.5% (county) 20.8% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 47.7% (county) 33.7% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 27.7% (county) 20.1% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 27.0% (county) 14.1% (state)
> County population: 22,220
> Largest city: Stilwell

Of all 77 counties in Oklahoma, Adair’s near 27.0% share of uninsured residents is the highest and is nearly double the state rate. Nationwide, the county ranks as the 10th least healthy. Adair is also among the least healthy in the country for the average number of mentally and physically unhealthy days every month.

County residents have some of the worst health behaviors and health outcomes in the country, too. About 27.7% of adult residents regularly smoke, compared with a national smoking rate of 17.1%. In addition, almost 47.7% of adults are obese and 24.3% have diabetes, the 18th and the 19th highest shares in the nation. The U.S. adult obesity and diabetes rates are 29.0% and 10.3%, respectively.

Source: icetsarina / Flickr

Oregon: Jefferson
> Adults in fair or poor health: 19.6% (county) 16.7% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 42.6% (county) 28.8% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 18.7% (county) 16.1% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 9.3% (county) 6.7% (state)
> County population: 23,607
> Largest city: Madras

An estimated 42.6% of adults in Jefferson County, Oregon, are obese, well above the 28.8% statewide obesity rate. Obesity increases the risk of several diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Of the 36 counties in Oregon, Jefferson has the second highest rate of both diabetes and adults reporting being in poor or fair health.

Low-income Americans tend to have less access to health care and cannot afford a wide range of healthy food options. The high obesity rate in Jefferson County may be attributable to poor diets among financially insecure county residents. About 17.9% of Jefferson County residents live below the poverty line, the seventh highest poverty rate of any county in the state and far above the state rate of 13.2%.

Pennsylvania: Fayette
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.2% (county) 17.5% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 39.7% (county) 30.3% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 21.4% (county) 18.7% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 4.7% (county) 5.7% (state)
> County population: 131,302
> Largest city: Uniontown

Fayette County, Pennsylvania, has the fifth highest share of adults in poor or fair health of all 67 counties in the state. About 18.2% of residents report being in suboptimal health, compared with the state share of 17.5%.

Only about 58.2% of county residents have access to recreation centers, parks, and other venues for physical exercise, significantly less than the 84.4% of Pennsylvania residents. This may help explain the relatively high inactivity rate. About 35.2% of local adults do not exercise, the largest share and compared to 23.1% of adults across Pennsylvania. Also, 39.7% of adults in the county are obese, the sixth highest share in the state.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Rhode Island: Providence
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.3% (county) 16.4% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 29.1% (county) 28.1% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 14.5% (county) 14.9% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 5.4% (county) 4.5% (state)
> County population: 635,737
> Largest city: Providence

Rhode Island’s population is relatively healthy compared to the nation as a whole. Even in Providence, the least healthy county in the state, the population is healthier than the broader U.S. population in several measures. For example, Providence County’s 18.7% excessive drinking rate is lower than the 19.6% state rate and is slightly below the 19.0% national rate. Similarly, the county’s 14.5% smoking rate is below the 14.9% state rate and below the 17.0% national rate.

Low-income Americans tend to have less access to quality health care. In Providence County, 15.2% of the population live below the poverty line, higher than the state poverty rate of 12.4%.

Source: Ryon Edwards / Flickr

South Carolina: Marion
> Adults in fair or poor health: 26.0% (county) 18.2% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 43.6% (county) 32.9% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 20.0% (county) 18.8% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 12.8% (county) 10.5% (state)
> County population: 31,308
> Largest city: Marion

Prevalent unhealthy behavior may be partially responsible for poor health outcomes in Marion County, South Carolina. County adults are far more likely not to exercise and somewhat more likely to smoke than adults in South Carolina as a whole. Such unhealthy habits can have harmful health consequences. The county’s annual premature mortality rate of 629 deaths before age 75 per 100,000 people is the second highest of any county in the state and among the highest nationwide.

Adults in Marion are far more likely to be obese than adults across the state. The county’s adult obesity rate of 43.6% is the highest in South Carolina and one of the highest among the 3,142 counties in the U.S.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.